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Analysis of social media is an important tool for spotting trends and forecasting markets. But deriving actionable intelligence from social media data requires a sophisticated framework that includes a host of capabilities.
Never before has there been such a direct way to gather intelligence on public sentiment and networks of influence for virtually any topic.
However, this is no easy task.
On Twitter alone, more than 500 million tweets are sent daily. Gleaning insight from such vast amounts of information can only be achieved through the use of big data.
The use of sentiment analysis is fast becoming an important tool for any company or government organization looking to read the mood of a group of people, predict their actions and influence behavior.
While powerful, sentiment analysis must be combined with a deep understanding of markets to generate reliable and actionable intelligence. It’s most potent when combined with information from additional sources such as subject matter experts or economic indicators.

Organizations already are starting to combine sentiment analytics with traditional market intelligence to build the foundation of decision-making models of the future. This hybrid approach of combining data analytics, expertise and insight from a variety of complementary sources to create a robust vision of the future is what IHS defines as Sentiment Intelligence.
Companies need a nuanced understanding of an industry or region of the world, as well as expertise in handling Big Data, to make sense of the sheer volume of data which cannot be constrained to conventional databases in neat columns. Tapping into this understanding by using sentiment and network analysis, a company can proactively engage in social media conversations, and improve investment decision making.
While viral messages, videos or news often seem to emerge without warning, there are now Sentiment Intelligence tools that can provide an early indication of a message’s potential to go viral. These tools can help a company react and take advantage of viral occurrences across the web for business gains. For example, a company can adjust its outreach effort to take advantage of viral trends or better understand how opponents are extending their influence using social media.
Sentiment Intelligence is still in its infancy, but even in these early stages the technology can yield huge benefits for organizations and companies—provided they develop the expertise and contextual skills to use it correctly.
The interpretive capabilities of Sentiment Intelligence tools are quickly becoming more robust. Social platforms continue to expand their reach globally, bringing new data with the capacity to provide a rich and nuanced picture of global trends. And while Sentiment intelligence tools were previously limited to Twitter, new systems are emerging that can gather information from a variety of sources, producing insights that could not be gathered from Twitter analysis alone.
Chris Hansen is director, IHS Energy
Posted February 25, 2015

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